Michael Clarke Duncan

"Big Mike"

10th December 1957 - 3rd September 2012 (55 Years)

“Gentle Giant”

Contents

1. Early Life

1.1 Childhood 1.2 University

2. Middle Life

2.1 Marriage 2.1 Marriage

Volunteering

3.2 Teaching 3.2 Sickness

The Beginning

Duncan was born in Chicago, Illinois, and raised in a single-parent household with his sister, Judy, and mother, Jean Duncan (a house cleaner), after his father left.[1][2] He always wanted to act, but had to drop out of the Communications program at Alcorn State University to support his family when his mother became ill.

Duncan's large frame—6 feet 5 inches (196 cm) and 315 pounds (143 kg)—helped him in his jobs digging ditches for Peoples Gas Company and being a bouncer at several Chicago clubs.[3] Duncan also played basketball at Kankakee Community College and for one season for the Alcorn State Braves.[4]

In 1979, he participated in the Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park, home of the Chicago White Sox, where he was among the first 100 people to run onto the field and he slid into third base. During the ensuing riot his silver belt buckle was stolen[5] while he was stealing a baseball bat from the dugout.[6]

Adult Life

Duncan took security jobs while in Los Angeles while trying to get some acting work in commercials. During this time, he worked as a bodyguard for celebrities like Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, and The Notorious B.I.G., all the while doing bit parts in television and films. When rapper Notorious B.I.G. was killed in 1997, Duncan quit the personal-protection business.[7]

After having begun his career with several bit parts playing bouncers in films such as Bulworth and A Night at the Roxbury, Duncan first came to prominence when he was cast as Bear in the blockbuster Michael Bay action film Armageddon (1998). During the production of the film, Duncan struck up a friendship with castmate Bruce Willis and it was Willis' influence that helped him to get his breakout role as gentle giant John Coffey in the Frank Darabont film The Green Mile (1999).[8] Starring alongside Tom Hanks, Duncan's performance netted him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture.[9][10]

Following his role as Coffey, Duncan was then cast in a string of films that helped to establish him as an actor in both action and comedy roles: The Whole Nine Yards (2000), See Spot Run (2001), Planet of the Apes (2001), The Scorpion King (2002), and Daredevil (2003), in the last of which he played The Kingpin from Marvel Comics.

When Duncan was cast as the Kingpin in 2002,[11] he faced the dual challenge of portraying a typically white character[12][13] and having to gain 40 pounds (18 kg) to fit the character's large physique. In July 2006, Duncan showed interest in returning for the role of the Kingpin, but stated that he would not be willing to regain the weight that he had lost.[14] In 2009, he stopped eating meat and later appeared in a PETA ad campaign, touting the health benefits and his increased strength from a vegetarian diet.[15][16]

In 2005, Duncan appeared in two action films, The Island and Sin City, in which he played Manute, a powerful mobster. Critic Roger Ebert singled out Duncan for praise for his role in The Island, writing that "[Duncan] has only three or four scenes, but they're of central importance, and he brings true horror to them."[17] Duncan appeared in a supporting role in the 2006 comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby as Lucius Washington and, in 2009, Duncan played Balrog in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li and starred as the titular Cleon "Slammin'" Salmon in Broken Lizard's farce The Slammin' Salmon.

Late Life

At the time of his death, Duncan was dating reality television personality Omarosa Manigault.[20] His family later claimed that Omarosa changed his will and testament.[21][22] They also claimed Omarosa manipulated Duncan in his final days, lied about their engagement, and sold his belongings without the family's knowledge.[23][24] In 2013, Manigault appeared in the cast of The All-Star Celebrity Apprentice and played in Duncan's honor for his favorite charity and one he had benefited from himself, the Sue Duncan Children's Center. In episode 2 of the season, Manigault won $40,000 for the charity.[25]

The End

Duncan was taken to Cedars Sinai Medical Center after suffering a heart attack on July 13, 2012.[26] By August 6, he was moved from the intensive-care unit but remained hospitalized.[27] On September 3, Duncan died in Los Angeles from complications of the heart attack; he was 54.[28]

On September 10, 2012, a private funeral was held for Duncan in Los Angeles. He was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills.[29]

Community Contributions

Community Contributions

Compendium

Born: 10 December 1957 Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

Died: 3 September 2012 (aged) Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Cause of death: Heart attack

Occupation(s): Actor

Partner(s): Omarosa Manigault

Parents: Jean Duncan

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